Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Senator's Tale

Wednesday morning, one of our U.S. Senators came to town to hear from his constituents. He is not up for reelection, so he really was just on what he called a "listening tour", giving people a chance to tell him their perspective. He started out by sharing a story about his recent trip to Iraq. He explained that he had been to Iraq every January since we had gone to war with them. Each time he had been flown in on a cargo plane, then quickly rushed onto a Blackhawk helicopter waiting on the airstrip. The Blackhawk would then fly low maneuvers into town to avoid radar detection and limit the chance a senator would be attacked. This January, though, after deboarding the cargo plane, he drove in a Chevy Suburban into town. He went to a plaza of store fronts that had been abandoned for years. He ate bread and drank "some of the stiffest coffee" he'd ever had at a coffee shop opened by two brothers. Twenty of the twenty-four stalls had stores now.

As I said, the story gave me hope. It gave me hope that things are truly improving in Iraq. It also gave me hope that most of our troops will be coming out. Right now, 500,000 Iraqi soldiers have been trained to take over the military and security enforcement in Iraq, and provincial government elections will be coming soon. Democracy seems to have found root in the Iraqi landscape. Here's hoping it flourishes.

-- Robert


le35 said...

It's as testament that this war was a good thing to do. People deserve freedom. Also, it was a stand. We can start bringing our soldiers home and only having a presence there.

Julie Pippert said...

Our Democratic politicians have fantastic lunches in local places open to the public. It's a wonderful way for them to keep in touch with the grassroots.

I'm always glad to hear of politicians who do this.

Robert said...

Our Senator is not a Democrat, but he has always been very accessible. I remember going to a campaign party for Bob Dole in 1996 with two friends, and they saw him (he was not, at the time, holding any office, but had had run for governor and senator at the time). They were starstruck, so I asked, "Want to meet him?" They did, of course, so I introduced them. He was extremely gracious and kind, even though these were two young people who were not quite able to vote just yet. I've always had respect for him as a person, because he is so very approachable, and he is not someone who has sold his soul to the party line. He is a true conservative, and I am glad he is finally serving where we need him.

I also agree with Ellie, that the senator's point was that things have changed and now we can hope to bring our soldier's home without fear of reprisal from terrorists. We may have helped ourselves find another ally in the Middle East, which we so desperately need to help the peace process there. When we confront nations that support terrorists, we show other nations they should not, but instead should strongly consider turning them out or locking them up. Here's hoping that message has been heard.

melissa said...

That's very cool that you got to interact that way. Neither of our senators are very accessible.

And here's hoping that they're right about Iraq.

Robert said...

I know this one a lot better than the other, even though they are best friends (literally, fraternity brothers over forty years ago who married sorority sisters), but I've gotten to know them both thanks to campaigns in the past. If he does leave Washington to become our governor, I will certainly not complain.

I'm with you, I hope they're right about Iraq really becoming a place of hope. I have heard it from enough people (from politicians to soldiers), that it sounds possible.